Walking in the World

Thundersley

Evening Sky

As seen from from our office window… I love how April evenings say good night to the world!

01 Apr 2017

Lest We Forget

thundersley_remembrance

At the end of this difficult week, we are remembering our war heroes and the difficult times that led up to their becoming heroes. We are thinking of ultimate sacrifices and life-changing injuries. We are thinking of broken societies past and present, and looking into our own hearts for courage and a moral compass. And as we remember the past, we should be asking ourselves hard questions about the future. Britain does not shirk from remembering, weaving ritual and tradition into the fabric of modern life.

I was at the pub with the Bitter Knitters on Wednesday evening and happened to notice this memorial above the fireplace.

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When I looked more closely, I found family:

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I’ve told you a bit about the story of Bert Louis Saward in an earlier post, and I’ll say more next spring when we commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death at Flanders. As I stood in silence at our Thundersley village service this morning, I found myself thinking of Bert, wondering who he might have become and how the Sawards of today might have been different had he lived. Remembrance is as personal as it is collective.

When you go home
tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
we gave our today.

poppy

Thundersley’s memorial is new this year; thank you to the committee who made it happen!

Photo by Martin Hayhurst(Photo © Martin Hayhurst)

 

13 Nov 2016

Vanessa atalanta

red_admiral_butterfly

Summer is drawing to a close so we won’t be seeing many more of these little beauties this year, but we’ve found this Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) huddled outside our office window several times lately, just out of camera shot. Today, though, Jeff caught her flying into the garden and snapped a quick photo when she landed in the ivy. Their flashy colouring makes them easy to spot and fun to see.

Some Red Admirals do hibernate, so I am harbouring the hope that she will survive the winter in some protected place.  Butterflies in general are symbols of transformation, and unexpected sightings like this draw my attention inwards as I check in with myself about where I am in my own ongoing cycle of transformation. Seeing Vanessa this week reminds me of the importance of sharing the colors and joy of my creations with the world.

What does she say to you?

 

27 Sep 2016

Dragonfly Drop-in

Dragonfly2016

We have a new friend who likes to spend his afternoons hunting small flies and basking in our garden. We’ve been enjoying a few days of Real Summer weather this week, with temperatures in the 80’s, which makes the garden a pretty nice place to be!.

 

26 Aug 2016

Happy Easter Monday

   The crochet crew at Bodkins treated our village to a bit of woolly whimsy and colour this weekend. 

I  am learning to appreciate the very long weekend that is the British Easter holiday. It starts on Friday (aka Good Friday) and continues through Easter Monday, by which time I am feeling over-chocolated and despairing of ever seeing the mailman again. I chafe against the lack of separation of church and state, but embrace the chance to  to take a few days off to spend time with both family and nature, and to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Happy Easter everyone! May the newness of the season resonate in your soul and find expression in your heart. I hope that this weekend has been an opportunity for you to celebrate what matters to you, with the people you love.

28 Mar 2016

Come, Spring

  We really needed the sunshiny beauty that was yesterday. I loved every minute of my walk through our neighbourhood. Spring was busting out, and all of nature seemed to be reaching for the heavens.

26 Mar 2016

Winter Mothering

Horses

February is a month of many birthdays in our family, so my mind is naturally drawn to the winter mothering that has taken place down through our generations. I always greet the neighbourhood horses as I pass by on my walks, but today I slowed more than usual to appreciate the tender mothering that was taking place out in the field.

16 Feb 2016

Walking Again

GrapeHyacinth

I have to admit that it’s been nice to surrender to the cold and just stay indoors the past few weeks. But today the sun was out, and I could hear my walking shoes calling to me. With the steadily lengthening days my thoughts are starting to turn to spring adventures and journeys, and as those plans start falling into place, I feel more like walking myself back into shape. On this morning’s walk, I was greeted by little signs of spring poking up in neighbouring gardens.

Snowdrops

10 Feb 2016

Harbingers of Spring

Crocus

January is drawing to a close and we’re already enjoying some harbingers of spring. We have dozens of blooms poking up in our back garden, and today’s cheery sunshine is warming my soul.

Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace; throws out the snowdrop and the crocus first.
– James Thomson

28 Jan 2016

The Church on the Hill

St Peter's Thundersley

St. Peter’s Church in Thundersley always looks disappointingly modern to me, but it is actually quite old and definitely stands on ground that has been holy since ancient times. The original church, dedicated to St. Michael, was built in 1120, but burned down less than a century later, in 1209. A new church erected on the site was completed in 1230, and was dedicated to St. Peter. The current weather vane bears the figures of both saints.

The tower was added later, in 1588, to contain the bell that was given to St. Peter’s to commemorate the English victory over the Spanish Armada. And inside the chancel hangs a helmet that supposedly belonged to King Henry VII who was the Lord of the Manor of Thundersley. The church is, indeed, both old and historic!

ThundersleyChurch800

The modern (20th century) addition came about when the original 13th century building became too small for the increasing population as Thundersley village expanded.

This week, our local church became personal. While cleaning out Jeff’s mum’s house last month, we found an old plaque that had been presented to the Saward family in remembrance of their soldier son who was killed in Flanders in January 1918. That was news to all of us, having never even heard the name of Bert Louis Saward mentioned. Apparently Jeff’s grandfather Ernest (who used to live across the road from where we now live) had an older brother, whose story we are now beginning to piece together.

ThundersleyMemorial800

Jeff and I walked up to St Peter’s this week to locate the WWI memorial plaque that lists Jeff’s ancestor, public proof of his existence and a private connection to a time and place we hadn’t really considered before. We stood in silence, thinking of a young man with our surname, who died in Flanders in the hell of war, oh so many years ago.

We are holding the thread of his life in our psyches now; our interest has been piqued and our imaginations stirred. I think genealogy does that. As one clue leads to another, a picture emerges and a story unfolds. We will be going to France in search of Bert’s grave at some point, but for now that little corner of a very old village church holds an important piece of a personal history.

16 Jan 2016

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